Former Supercars Champion James Courtney is determined to help push his Holden Racing Team out of a recent slump on-track.
Courtney came out firing at the opening Clipsal 500, having an enthralling battle with Jamie Whincup on Saturday and winning race two, but has not been able to back up his victory with the field nail-bitingly close this year.
There has been plenty of scrutiny on the HRT, and Courtney says the group is as focussed as ever as it approaches a part of the season it has traditionally performed well in.
“Definitely as a team we haven’t given up, we’re still searching and trying to work it out,” Courtney told supercars.com.
“Of course, everyone goes into every weekend wanting to win, so we haven’t just sat back and said ‘this weekend, this year’s a write off’ and stopped trying, that’s for sure.”
The 2010 champ agrees some of the criticism of the team this season has been fair but is not bothered by others’ opinions.
“I think as a team we definitely haven’t been achieving what we should be, and [we’re not] where we should be with the resources we’ve got.
“When you put yourself in the spotlight and you’re a sportsperson, you’re opening yourself up to be critiqued. And, look, if you can’t handle being critiqued or criticised you’re in the wrong industry. So you take everything with a pinch of salt – some of the things are valid, some are just random weird comments, but it is what it is.”
Last round at Winton was tough, with Courtney clashing with Cameron Waters and Chaz Mostert and sustaining damage in both incidents. A poor qualifying result had Courtney down on Sunday, after the team elected to move it test ahead of the round to try and find an edge.
But in 2015 he was able to secure an ARMOR ALL Pole Position at Hidden Valley (and in 2013) and Townsville, up ahead, is a street circuit, where the HRT cars usually prove strong.
“As a town I really enjoy Darwin and as an event it’s really good,” Courtney said.
“Like you said, we had the pole there last year – our engine is a lot stronger than what we had there last year so hopefully it turns around for us.
“Definitely as we go through the back part of the year it does become a better time of the year for us in that there’s more street races and circuits tat typically suit our cars. So it’s an exciting time of year.”
Courtney sits 11th in the Championship after a single win this season and is 327 points behind leader Mark Winterbottom.